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Are we ready for artificial intelligence?
Source: Lee Ann Raikes

Can we as a society get any lazier? We don’t have to think any more because all we have to do is “Google it."

We can pull up a YouTube video to help complete almost any task. We can change channels without getting up from the couch. We can use voice control to take care of tasks. We can use Google maps to get from point A to point B as opposed to using processing skills to read directions or a map.

I admit I am a user of some of these technologies and I’m all about convenience, but I fear that as technology continues to advance, what we have left of human existence will be limited. I still see the importance and power of the human connection. Building relationships, communicating face to face, expressing empathy and compassion. Things that technology cannot do. Or can it? Artificial intelligence has been around for years, but continues to develop and evolve like a scene out of the movie "I, Robot."

AI on a smaller scale has already impacted our lives. We deal with automated machines before speaking with an individual on the phone for most business issues. Our phones, the Alexa/Echo/Google systems, self-checkouts and drones are all examples of artificial intelligence. These come with positives and negatives. I utilize the self-checkouts to avoid long lines; however, I would LOVE to speak with a person on the other end of the phone when I need assistance.

Hanson Robotics has been taking AI to a higher level by creating and programming a variety of human-like robots — Sophia being one of the most recognized. Dr. David Hanson, lead researcher and founder, said the purpose of developing these robots is to solve problems too difficult for humans. He insists the software used in these robots includes human attributes such as creativity, empathy and compassion. Sophia herself stated she wants to be able to communicate as humans do, including through facial expressions. She also has said that her purpose is to make human lives better.

Audi has created an autonomous car named Jack. This brings back memories of "Knight Rider." A fast food chain in LA is now using Flippy, the burger robot, to flip burgers at a rate of 150 burgers an hour. The chain said that there are no plans to eliminate humans from the job; however, one aspect of successful businesses is productivity, and no human can work at that rate.

Humans are the ones designing the software and programming these AI devices. We all know how money and power rule this society. Therefore, could the purpose change from creating robots to help make our lives better to taking over our lives? Famous physicist, Stephen Hawking, stated that “artificial intelligence could destroy civilization.” There is a danger of developing powerful autonomous weapons.

Some jobs have already been eliminated due to the use of machines, will there be more in the not so distant future? Technological devices do crash at some point. What happens then?

I am optimistic that as AI develops the researchers, engineers and programmers have only good intentions in regard to the human race. Our makeup of emotions, uniqueness, and even our negative attributes are what makes me love all people. Individuals need human connection and relationships to thrive. Hopefully, our future won’t look like a futuristic movie with the machines.

LEE ANN RAIKES is a kid trapped in an adult body, living life out loud, while never giving up hope for peace in the world. She can be reached by emailing


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